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‘Islam Can’t Be Modernised’ Says World’s ‘Greatest Arabic Poet’

The writer regarded as the greatest Arabic language poet alive today has said Islam cannot be modernised.

Adunis Asbar, known by his pen name Adonis, is a Syrian-born writer often considered one of the greatest living poets of the Arabic language. He has come under criticism for comments he made recently about Islam before receiving the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize, named after the famous pacifist and author of the classic World War One novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’.

In an interview with Die Welt he talked about one of the most pressing issues in Germany since the migrant crisis began, the idea of being able to integrate migrants from predominately Muslim countries into European societies.

Being raised a Muslim himself and having one of the greatest understandings of the language of the Quran, Adonis said: “You can not reform a religion. If they are reformed, [the original meaning] is separated from it. Therefore, modern Muslims and a modern Islam is already impossible. If there is no separation between religion and state, there will be no democracy especially without equality for women. Then we will keep a theocratic system. So it will end.”

Laying down a heavy critique of the Islamic world, he added: “Arabs have no more creative force. Islam does not contribute to intellectual life, it suggests no discussion. It is no longer thought. It produces no thinking, no art, no science, no vision that could change the world. This repetition is the sign of its end. The Arabs will continue to exist, but they will not make the world better.”

The remarks are in reference to the broader questions of how he sees the Middle East, and specifically his native Syria which has been in a state of civil war for years. Adonis describes the totality of Islam in the life of people in the Islamic world saying Muslim society is “based on a totalitarian system. The religion dictates everything: How to run, how to go to the toilet, who one has to love…”

Initially seemingly reluctant to condemn the Assad regime, he did write an open letter to Bashar Assad asking him to step down. However, this also angered rebel sympathisers when he referred to Assad as the elected President


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